On January 1, 2021, Congress enacted the Federal Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”), pursuant to which a secure database will be established to assist law enforcement agencies in combatting money laundering, financing of terrorism, and other illegal activities. The objective of the CTA is to prevent bad actors from using shell companies to obscure the provenance of their ill-gotten gains.
The database will be administered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), an agency of the U.S. Department of Treasury. Companies will be required to provide information relating to their beneficial owners (generally, individuals owning 25% or more) and persons who are in control (generally, individuals holding significant decision-making authority). There are exceptions, such as publicly traded companies, companies with annual gross receipts exceeding $5 million that have more than 20 full-time U.S. employees and a physical office in the United States, and companies already subject to Federal government oversight (e.g., banks).